While making healthcare decisions is often difficult in the best of circumstances, making decisions for others is even more complicated. Each of us has the ability to guide our healthcare providers and our loved ones about what we want. Advance Directives give you the ability to document the types of healthcare you do and do not want, and to name an “agent” to speak for you if you cannot speak for yourself.
According to Nathan A. Kottkamp, Chair, National Healthcare Decisions Day, “As Terri Schiavo’s situation vividly revealed, having an Advance Directive can be valuable for all adults, regardless of current age or health status. With the Patient Self-Determination Act of 1990, Congress affirmed the right of every citizen to set forth his or her future healthcare wishes in writing with an “advance directive.” Yet, various estimates suggest that only about 25percent of all Americans have done so. Because Advance Directives can be created without a lawyer, for free, and relatively easily, this figure is astonishingly low. In recognition of this, National Healthcare Decisions Day on April 16 strives to provide much-needed information to the public, reduce the number of tragedies that occur when a person’s wishes are unknown, and improve the ability of healthcare facilities and providers to offer informed and thoughtful guidance about advance healthcare planning to their patients.”
Do you have Advance Directives on file with your physician and/or the Hospital? Boundary Community Hospital staff want to be sure your wishes are known if the need arises. Advance Directives are documents that state your choices about medical treatment, or name someone to make decisions about your medical treatment, if you are unable to make those decisions yourself. They are called “Advance” Directives because they are signed in advance, to let your doctor and other health care providers know your wishes concerning your medical care. Visit the Advance Directives booth at the Hospital’s Annual Health Fair on May 13, 2017 and talk with healthcare professionals about the importance of advance directives and pick up a copy of “Idaho Advance Directives, Legal Documents to Assure Future Health Care Choices.”
According to the California Healthcare Foundation (2012), 80 percent of people say that if seriously ill, they would want to talk to their doctor about wishes for medical treatment toward the end of their life. 82 percent of people say it’s important to put their wishes in writing. 23 percent have actually done it.
Discover the Health Fair Advantage and find out more about healthcare options in Boundary County at the Annual BCH Health Fair from 9 a.m. to Noon on May 13.